Head of the MFA: The Eastern Partnership summit will maintain offer to Georgia of closer relations with EU

The upcoming Eastern Partnership Summit will maintain the offer to Georgia of ever closer relations with the European Union, Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski said in Tbilisi on Tuesday.


"We still keep our fingers crossed for its membership in the EU," he added.  

The head of the Polish Foreign Ministry is visiting Georgia together with his Swedish counterpart Margot Wallstroem. 

At a joint press conference after morning talks with Georgia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze, Minister Waszczykowski expressed his hope that the declaration announced at the Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels on November 24th would be to Georgia’s satisfaction. 

"In it we maintain the prospect of ever closer relations with the Union," he said.

"Of course we would prefer to offer you the prospect of full EU membership, but, as you know, due to the complex situation in the Union and its stalemate, it is not possible at the moment," the minister said.  

"We still keep our fingers crossed for your membership," he added. 

  The head of Polish diplomacy also stressed that the EU recognizes Georgia’s determination and its efforts to reform and "make it into a country that will (…) in the near future acquire all the features that will make it a member of the EU."

  In her speech during the conference, Minister Mallstroem also reiterated her support for the Georgian reform process. 

"Sweden will remain a strong supporter of Georgia’s European aspirations and its continued integration path," she said.

  The Swedish politician said that Georgia is a "progressive member of the EaP"; in this context, she pointed to the successes of the country, including in the fight against corruption.

She also said that the coming years would require Georgia "to work hard on contract implementation and institutional strengthening". 

"The signing of agreements (association and free trade – PAP) is the beginning of a long road towards the single market," Minister Wallstroem added. 

  She said that the friendship and support for Georgia carries with it also high expectations. 

"There are areas where we would like to see even more vigorous efforts," the Swedish Foreign Minister said. 

In this context, she pointed to the reform of the judiciary, equality in political life, and the "further expansion of media freedom".



Asked whether the fact that the EaP Summit Declaration remains conservative in relation to the aspirations of the partner countries to full membership in the EU, Minister Janelidze stated that "there can be no talk of disappointment."  

"Georgia is carrying out all of these reforms for itself – for its citizens, for its own country, to become a truly European state," the head of Georgian diplomacy stressed.   

He also expressed his gratitude for the "full support" from the EU and individual member states "for modernizing our institutions, modernizing our law and harmonizing it with EU law, bringing Georgia closer to European institutions."

"We certainly hope for the prospect of accession, but we also believe that the way to this end is not through disappointment, but through hard work," Minister Janelidze said.  

Minister Waszczykowski pointed out that the process of becoming a member of the Union "is long and complicated because the EU is a complex institution."  

"Adoption of EU law takes time, even Poland, although today it is closer to the founding fathers of the EU, took many years before it managed this and became a member of the EU," he said.  

The Minister also stressed that, in his opinion, "we are seeing great progress on the way to Georgia’s membership of the EU." 

Within this context, he pointed to the signing of an association and free trade agreement and the opening of visa-free travel with the Schengen area.

"Now it is time to implement these tools and I hope that having such allies as Sweden and Poland can help Georgia eventually become a member of the EU," he added.

  After the conference, Minister Waszczykowski and Minister Wallstroem went to meet with the Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili.  

According to PAP information from Brussels, in the draft declaration to be announced at the Brussels summit, the EU will recognize the "European aspirations and European choices" of Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova. The Netherlands did not agree for terminology that went further, the diplomats said.

  The Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels will be the first time in two years that the heads of state or government of 28 EU countries will meet with the leaders of Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Belarus, Armenia and Azerbaijan. The last meeting at this level was held in Riga in 2015.

  The EU Eastern Partnership Program was launched in 2009 on the initiative of Poland and Sweden.


Source: PAP

source: http://www.mfa.gov.pl/en/news/head_of_the_mfa__the_eastern_partnership_summit_will_maintain_offer_to_georgia_of_closer_relations_with_eu